Mid-June to July is the bloom time for the wild Smoky Mountains Rhododendrons. There are primarily two types to look for. The White, or Rosebay, variety is most often seen along the creeks at all elevations. The Purple, or Catawba, variety is more often seen at high elevations along hillside trails. They are both beautiful shrubs and among the most eagerly awaited wildflowers blooms in the Smokies.
The tallest Purple Rhododendron in the nation grows in the Smoky Mountains at a height of 25 feet!
The leaves of Rhododendrons are similar to Mountain Laurel, but the buds and blooms are different. Below shows the pineapple-shaped bud of a Rhododendron.
If time allows during your Smoky Mountains vacation, please stop in at the William Britten Gallery on Glades Rd in Gatlinburg where my complete display of photos may offer you a special Smokies memory to take home!
And if you are a wildflower enthusiast, please join my Smoky Mountains Wildflowers Community page on Facebook. We share photos and trade information on flower locations.